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Rural signage: Steer me to Pumpkinland

Minnesota Prairie Roots

WHEN TRAVELING THROUGH RURAL MINNESOTA, and anywhere for that matter, my husband and I rely on good old paper maps and atlases to navigate in unfamiliar territory. Yes, we are old-fashioned that way, without GPS or smart phones.

We also count on signage to get us to specific destinations. Rural areas offer creative home-spun signs so I’m always scouting for eye-catching signage worthy of photographing.

En route to extreme southwestern Minnesota this past summer, I spotted signage for two businesses in the Vernon Center area, along Highway 169 south of Mankato.

First, the Vernon Center Market:

Photo by Audrey Kletscher Helbling
Photographed this summer near Vernon Center.

There are several reasons I like this sign. Right off, the steer graphic catches my eye and tells me, without reading a single word, that this advertises a meat market. Second, the arrow tells me exactly where I’ll find the Vernon Center Market. Across from the Ball Park. Perfect. So small-townish. I also appreciate that business hours are listed, although I doubt a motorist would catch that while driving by.

And then there’s Pumpkinland, also near Vernon Center:

pumpkinland sign
Photo by Audrey Kletscher Helbling
Pumpkinland near Vernon Center.

You can’t miss the sprawling sign, painted in a readable font. And the graphics are limited to pumpkins. Simple. Clutter-free. Quick to get the necessary business information out there.

And great for a passing photographer to photograph from the passenger side of a moving van.

This post was written by  Audrey Kletscher Helbling and originally published on  Minnesota Prairie Roots.

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